October 2017

Don’t Let a Clogged Bathroom Sink Put a Drain on Your Holiday Fun

how to unclog bathroom sink drain

The leaves are turning crimson and gold, there is a decidedly autumnal crispness to the air, and school is well underway. That can only mean one thing…the holiday season is coming! And while there is much to love about the holidays, hosting guests can be stressful. Whether for drinks, dinner, or an extended stay, odds are your guests are going to need to visit the bathroom. So, while you are putting out fresh linens and pretty soaps, take a good look at your sink. Is it draining normally or is water backing up and sitting in it?

Sink or Swim? Find Out Now

Bathroom sinks see a lot of action – hand washing, tooth brushing, hair brushing, and shaving can all cause buildup and clogs that can lead to a slow or clogged drain. Add in a few guests and increase the number of bathroom visits for a couple of days, and that slow drain might lead to a catastrophic evening.

Not good! Test your sinks, showers and tubs to make sure all the water is flowing fine. Don’t wait until it’s too late,

How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink Drain

So, what should you do? You can try the following do-it-yourself remedies before you call your plumber:

  • Check the sink pop-up – the shape of the pop-up can lead to clog-causing debris and buildup;
  • Check the overflow. The overflow is the little hole toward the top of your sink. It serves two purposes: to drain a sink if it is too full and to provide air that allows the sink to drain faster. If it is plugged, your sink drains slowly. Make sure it is clear.
  • Use a plunger; be sure to plug the overflow with a rag or cover with some duct tape, or your plunging will not be effective.
  • Use a zip strip. The  most common clog cause in bathroom drains is hair. Luckily, these clogs usually occur right below the drain. There’s a simple solution. It’s called a zip strip and it costs just a couple of dollars at the hardware store. It’s a flat, plastic flexible stick with tiny points along both sides. Simply push it as far into the drain as you can, wiggle it a bit and pull back. It’s best to have a small bucket handy to put the hairy mess in. It is kind of gross, but usually very effective and a quick, easy fix.

After you remove the clog with any of these methods, be sure to run plenty of hot water down the drain to flush out any additional buildup or residue.

If these attempts do not work, give Herrmann Services a call at (513) 407-5177 or contact us online for a professional plumber in cincinnati to get that sink draining again before your guests arrive. Dealing with your in-laws is stressful enough – don’t let a slow sink drain add to that stress!

drain cleaning guide for diy

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink Drain – 4 Simple Fixes

how to unclog kitchen sink

Any slow draining sink is a nuisance. But different sinks tend to have different clogs. For instance, shower drains tend to collect hair. Kitchen drains, on the other hand, tend to have more problems with grease and food particles. The team at Herrmann Services put together these tips specifically for how to unclog kitchen sinks and garbage disposals.

1. Don’t Get Boiling Mad, Just Get Boiling

When grease, or greasy liquids, get poured down your kitchen sink, they go down the drain in a liquid state, but as they move through your pipes, the fat cools. As the fat becomes solid, it coats the inside of the pipes.

This coating will get thicker and thicker as more grease builds up until you get a slow draining sink or a completely clogged sink.

To unclog a slow draining kitchen sink, before you go out and buy drain cleaner, try this first. Boil a pan full of water on the stove. A tea kettle will do nicely as well. Pour a half cup of baking soda down your drain followed by a half cup of white vinegar. Let it fizz and bubble for five to ten minutes or so.

Then, carefully pour the pot or kettle full of boiling water down the drain. Turn the faucet on and see if it’s draining faster. Because the clog usually contains a lot of grease, the boiling water melts the grease, thus removing the clog.

2. Take the Plunge

If hot water doesn’t improve the problem, the culprit may be something other than grease buildup. It’s time to pull out the plunger. If there is standing water in the sink, remove it until there is only an inch or two so you can see what’s going on.

Place the cup of the plunger over the drain opening and pump up and down rapidly several times. Quickly pull the plunger off the drain opening. If this did not dislodge the clog, it may be trapped in the P-trap. Don’t forget to plunge both sides of the sink.

3. Remove the P-Trap

Large food particles like vegetable peels that become trapped in the curved pipe beneath the sink (known as the P-trap) are another common cause of kitchen drain clogs. Removing the P-trap sounds difficult, but is really not that involved.

You will need a channel-type pliers. Have a bucket handy, because water will spill from the drain when you remove this piece. Dump out any debris you find and rinse the pipe thoroughly before replacing it.

clogged kitchen sink drain and how to fix it

4. Use a Drain Snake to Unclog Your Sink

If the P-trap doesn’t appear to be the problem, the clog may be located further down the pipe. If that’s the case, you can use a drain snake to try to remove it. Most homeowners don’t have these on hand, and they are not cheap to rent or buy. At this point, it may be best to call a qualified plumber.

5. Keep Pipes Clean with Enzymes

Natural enzymes eat organic matter and were originally used to reduce the amount of organic waste buildup in septic tanks. Enzymes are now available for all types of plumbing needs, and if properly maintained, enzymes will help keep the pipes free and clear of buildup when used on a regular basis.

Enzymes are not as effective at removing an existing clog immediately, but regular use will keep your pipes clear of any organic buildup which helps you avoid clogs in the first place. Plus, natural enzymes are very easy on your pipes, unlike chemical drain cleaners.

9 Things You Should Never Put Down Your Kitchen Sink or Garbage Disposal

  • Grease – it will coat your pipes
  • Bones – they’ll just keep spinning around and around with the blades
  • Celery – the fibrous strings get tangled around the disposal’s blades
  • Coffee grounds – the oil in coffee grounds becomes a sticky sludge
  • Egg shells – ground egg shells become sand-like particles that stick to grease
  • Corn husks – the fibers get caught in the blades
  • Artichokes – again, too fibrous
  • Fruit pits – pits are very hard and can jam the disposal blades
  • Potato peels – starchy vegetables and even pasta can cause a sticky mess

If your kitchen sink defies all of your efforts to clear the clog, give Herrmann Services a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online and we’ll send a skilled plumber to your home.

drain cleaning guide for diy

No More Lame Excuses – It’s Time to Make the Switch to LED Lighting

Switch to LED Lighting in Your Home

So you’ve heard all about LED lighting. You know how energy efficient these bulbs are. You know that the lights are safer because they don’t create heat when they’re on. You know they last for years and years and won’t have to be replaced. So, why don’t you have them in every fixture in your home?

LED Lighting – Lame Excuses Demystified

At Herrmann Services, we like to keep our customers up to date on the latest and greatest in heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical. On that note, we’d like to let you in on a little secret…it’s time to update your lighting to LED bulbs.

Wait, it’s actually long past time! So why exactly haven’t you done it yet? We have a few ideas. There are really only two reasons people haven’t updated and upgraded – cost and confusion. We’re here to help you eliminate this confusion and understand the costs of LED lighting.

Lame Excuse #1: LED Light Bulbs Cost More

So let’s cut to the chase. Do LED bulbs cost more than incandescent or CFL bulbs? Heck yes. But if you look at the years of lighting they provide versus those other bulbs, it’s well worth the investment. Plus, due to competition, the price has dropped significantly in recent years.

Eventually, the LED bulbs will pay off, and in the meantime, you’ll enjoy less heat production, longer bulb life, and a lot less bulb replacing!

Lame Excuse #2: Watt’s What?

With incandescent bulbs, though wattage isn’t an indication of brightness, it is a measurement of how much energy the bulb draws, so there is a well-known correlation between the watts drawn and the brightness.

With LEDs, you can’t use wattage to determine brightness. Instead, you have to look for lumens. To save you a lot of confusion, we included this comparison chart that we found in an article from C/Net (a consumer comparison website).

LED lights vs incandescent lights comparison

Lame Excuse #3: Confusion with Color

Incandescent bulbs provide a warm, yellowish light. LED bulbs can provide many different hues, namely warm white, soft white and bright white. LED color is measured by temperature in kelvins.

The lower the number, the yellower the light. If you want your LEDs to emulate the light from a traditional incandescent bulb, as many homeowners do, shop for a kelvin between 2,700 and 3,500K.

A Note of Caution

If you have switches that are dimmable, look closely when buying an LED to replace the bulb. Not all LEDs are dimmable. If you replace a dimmable incandescent with an LED, the fixture may hum, buzz, or crackle. Be sure to buy only LEDs that are labeled “dimmer compatible”.

Now that you know how affordable, safe, and similar to the look of incandescent bulbs LED bulbs are, get out there and replace your bulbs and start saving energy today!

If you need any electrical help in your home, from installing a ceiling fan to replacing an old breaker box to rewiring your entire home, give Herrmann Services a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.